Posted on September 11, 2013 | |
It's often said that science-fiction never truly predicts the future, only comments on the present - that trying to imagine what the future will bring only ever shows you what the writer thinks about the now. Perhaps never on TV has this been more highlighted than in the 1982 BBC1 series Play For Tomorrow.
When The Flipside of Dominick Hide proved a hit for Play For Today, the BBC commissioned a series of six plays all set in what was then the distant future: the end of the 20th century and start of the 21st. However, with the obvious benefits of hindsight, we can see just how wrong they were - and how much what they predicted was predicated on the future being not too different from the present, even when it seemed to be.
After the jump is your chance to visit a 2002 when nuclear war was perilously close, a 1999 when the EU is at war, a 1997 when cricketers practised guerilla warfare, another 1999 when married women couldn't work, yet another 1999 when everyone had virtual reality shades and finally a 2016 where Kenneth Branagh will still have a Northern Irish accent.
Continue reading "The Wednesday Play: Play For Tomorrow (1982)"
Posted on September 4, 2013 | |
What would Wednesday be like without a little bit of cheery social realism from Ken Loach, hey? You don't have to imagine, because today's play is Up The Junction, a Wednesday Play from 1965. Based on the 1963 Nell Dunn novel of the same name, which in turn was based on conversations the authoress overheard in local pubs, the play depicts then-contemporary life in Battersea, showing everything from petty thieving and sexual encounters, to births and deaths. Unsurprisingly, it was watched by 10m viewers and attracted a record 400 complaints.
More importantly, Loach's characteristic documentary-style depiction of back-street abortions was powerful enough that the public debate was swayed and abortion was legalised in 1967. Loach commented that the use of documentary elements reflected the programme's scheduling: The Wednesday Play appeared immediately after the evening news. "We were very anxious for our plays not to be considered dramas but as continuations of the news," he added.
Less importantly, it led to a movie the same year that starred Dennis Waterman and Maureen Lipman. Can't be helped, that.
Posted on July 17, 2013 | |
Given that the Queen has just today signed an act of parliament making gay marriages legal in England and Wales, it seems appropriate to make today's Wednesday Play The Naked Civil Servant, a boundary-breaking ITV play based on the autobiography of openly gay man Quentin Crisp. Directed by Jack Gold, written by Philip Mackie and produced by Blog Goddess Verity Lambert, the play starred John Hurt as the flamboyant Crisp, covering his life from youth to middle age as he comes to terms with his homosexuality during the 1930s and 1940s, a time when homosexuality was illegal and even women were looked down upon for dyeing their hair.
Spawning a recent sequel (An Englishman in New York) and regarded by industry professionals as one of the most important British TV plays ever made, it's a must watch. If you like it, buy it on DVD!